Musical Fidelity have joined the new wave of media streamers with their M1 CLiC Universal Media Controller. It’s based around their excellent M1 DAC and is capable of streaming high-resolution music up to 24-bit/192kHz from a computer, or accessing other digital and analogue sources. While this sort of device is commonly thought of more as a convenience item, it is increasingly being recognized as potentially delivering better sound than CD.
Once it is set up and linked into your local home network (by wireless or Ethernet cable) it becomes simple to operate via a small LCD screen on the front panel, and remote control. Apart from your music in hard drive storage you can access Internet Radio, Front USB, iPod (rear connection), Coaxial Digital 1 & 2, USB DAC, and analogue AUX 1, 2, 3.
While there are various ways of getting your media streamed around the house, doing it while maintaining very high audio quality is the trick. The CLiC does this so well that Paul Miller of HiFi News found it excellent on all sources, even the WAV files played from his iPod Classic. “Bit-perfect, non-compressed 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV files riped from CDs and stored in a 160G iPod were replayed by the CLiC with the kind of unsullied freshness normally associated with a very good CD player replay – or better. Frankly, I was astonished!”
Playing high resolution files via the network sounded “pretty darn’ good”, but playing them directly from his USB sounded even better. “Surprisingly, I was treated to an even fresher, more open and stimulating reproduction.” It improved harmonies and ambience as well as lifelike presence.
The CLiC is a versatile and very capable addition to any system. The screen gives easy to read, easy to use options. The possibilities for utilizing both storage of high quality music as well as Internet sources are, or should be, on all of our to-do lists these days.
HiFi News' verdict: "The MF CLiC combines outstanding sound quality and ease of use in one well-made package. It is surely a pivotal product which will bring high-quality digital music streaming through many more audiophile homes."